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cs93

cs93

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Published by davebrownz

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Published by: davebrownz on Jan 05, 2012
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Class Struggle 93 February-March 2011
2
Brief Stuff
Autocracy and Autism
In times of crisis the shit floats to the top and inChristchurch it’s called
liquefaction
. In a climate ofshock and fear for 1000s of those who have lived withaftershocks for 6 months this climate is being exploitedby the capitalists to rush through their rightwingagenda. (see
Disaster Capitalism Downunder 
). A newCanterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has beencreated by the NACT government to ride roughshodover the Christchurch City Council and disenfranchisethe people of Christchurchfrom any democraticparticipation in howChristchurch will be rebuilt.This is the same NACT ployused to sack the CanterburyRegional Council to givefarmers relatively freeaccess to water at theexpense of the Canterburytownies. Now Christchurchgets the same treatment.CCC is effectively sackedand replaced by GerryBrownlee and a CabinetCommittee. This is therampant autocracy of Brownlee on behalf of theCanterbury gentry and NZ finance capital. Central cityis in lockdown with armed checkpoints. The cowboywreckers are pulling down buildings without consents ornotifying owners. Valuable contents have gone missing.Small business owners have demonstrated against beinglocked out of their premises for over a month.To divert the people of Christchurch from the NACTdemolition job of asset stripping Christchurch, the usualrightwing ploy of fear mongering about a breakdown oflaw and order is used as a smokescreen. What betterthan to create a panic about ‘looters’. In every crisissituation where workers need food they raidsupermarkets and are labelled looters. The city isflooded with Army checkpoints and Aussie cops wereimported to patrol the suburbs. The Eastern suburbswere left without water, electricity and toilets forweeks. When young people organised to to the aid offamilies in the Eastern Suburbs they were profiled andwarned off by cops.Then a young man is arrested for stealing light bulbs.
25-year-old Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp
is beaten upby cops. Up pops rightwing shockjock Michael Lhaws onRadio Live to amp up the fear and hysteria. This manshould be locked up he says. Being beaten up is ‘naturaljustice’. Wanted, Vigilantes. Turns out the young manhas Aspergers Syndrome with a fixation on light bulbswhich he took from an abandoned building. Autism isno excuse says Michael Lhaws. Brian Edwards rushes tothe young man’s defence but manages to treat autismas some sort of social disability. What is worse shockjock or patronising liberal? Young man has Lhawssussed. “He is on Radio Live yet he is not alive”. Seemsthis young man was keeping his cool and behavingrationally compared to the Autocracy, the shock jocksand the limp liberals, who each in their own wayexploit the shock, the social disability and social chaoswhich disenfranchises the working people ofChristchurch while their assets are seriously looted.We say that the working people of Christchurch need toorganise in their localities and their unions to buildtheir own Christchurch,joining forces with theworkers who arerebuilding theinfrastructure to takecontrol of the planningand rebuilding of thefacilities and resourcesthey need and refusingto be manipulated andmanaged by the NACTmachine in what is goingto be a furiousshowdown electioncampaign. Working classChristchurch does notwant to become a poster child for the NACTS disastercapitalism. The workers of Christchurch need toorganise to take control of their city from the capitalistasset strippers. They could start by making an inventoryof the infrastructure and services to identify the reallooters.
Japan Quake Aftermath 
A ‘natural’ disaster is a ratio of one 1 part nature andup to 10 parts ‘social’ on the Karl Marx scale
.
Nothingcould prevent the earthquake in Japan of 9 on theRichter scale, nor the massive Tsunami that followed.But a lot could be done to prevent its effects on thehuman population. Most of the death toll can be putdown to the ‘social’ contribution of living in a capitalistsociety. Towns built on the coast, in many cases near oreven below normal water level. So while many of thehigh rise buildings in the cities are built to withstandearthquakes, in the regions, inadequate sea walls, poorlocation and design of dwellings contributed to mostdeaths. As a result 10s of thousands have perished.Many more may yet perish if the Fukushima nuclearpower station built to withstand big earthquakes butnot a 10 meter Tsunamisuffers a meltdownand
 
Class Struggle 93 February-March 2011
3
contaminates Japan and much of the NorthernHemisphere with nuclear fallout.Thus on the Karl Marx scale, Christchurch, NZ had a 7.1quake in September 2010 that caused no deaths. Thiswould be rated as 1/2 since most of the destructionwas to buildings and infrastructure and was not serious.However, this was followed by a 6.3 quake in Februarythis year which killed around 200 when two multi-storybuildings, and a number of shop frontages crashed intothe streets. There was also much more damage to thephysical infrastructure and buildings. This quake mightrate at 1/4. Much worse and possibly a 1/8 was theHaiti Earthquake of 2009 also a 7.1 but where 230,000perished due to a history of colonisation that left poorlybuilt dwellings incapable of withstanding even amoderate earthquakeeven without Tsunamisor meltdowns ofnuclear powerstations. We have yetto see what totaldeath and destructionhas been wrought bythe Japanese quake onJapanese society andthe wider world.As comrade Tyashi ofthe
new wave
in Indiaputs it: “naturalcalamities areessentially rooted inman-madefactors....destruction of environment for blind profitsat the hands of capitalists and the states under them, isthe chief contributory factor to these calamities....butthe working and toiling masses are the worst suffererunder their axe...natural calamities hit hard at theheads of ruling classes, as they expose the classcontradictions in the given society to the core....wehope that Tsunami in Japan would give an opportunityto the workers and poor there to see that capitalistJapan does not care about them at all.....and thus theymust overthrow the power of capitalists, and establishtheir own rule to deal effectively with suchcalamities...we call upon the Japanese working class toturn the tsunami over to the ruling class ofcapitalists...let their regime be shaken by powerfuljolts of a proletarian revolution...”
Welfare demolition job
 
On February 22
nd
, the day the second ChristchurchEarthquake struck, Paula Bennett’sWelfare WorkingGroup(WWG) released itsrecommendations,which were greeted with a lively and well attended protestdemonstration at the Henderson office of Work andIncome in Auckland. The more spectacular of the twocatastrophes of course received far greater attentionfrom the media, despite the momentousness of theWWG’s report, and the likelihood that in the long termthe recommended welfare “reforms” could result in ahigher but less easily visible toll of casualties.At a time of high unemployment attributable entirely tothe unresolved global economic crisis, the WWG’srecommendations set the ambitious target of “at least100,000 fewer working age people receiving welfare by2021…” Needless to say, the measures recommended toachieve this goal are thoroughly draconian, and includeintensive case management of “Job Seekers” (as allbeneficiaries including sole parents and invalids are tobe designated) with punitive sanctions for those whoseek but fail to find non-existent employment: Benefitcuts and stand-downs and forced labour are the orderof the day.In the preamble theWWG reportpredictably claims,“Our welfare systemhas major deficienciesthat need to becorrected…” Substitutethe word “report” for“welfare system” andtheir claim would bevalid. A search of thereport in electronic pdffile yields zero resultsfor certain words withobvious relevance,namely “recession”,“depression” or“financial crisis”. This glaring omission cannot beexplained by culpable ignorance or naivety on thegroup’s part, as the report does at one point fleetinglyrefer to the global crisis, trivializing it as an “economicdownturn” which it blithely assume will be temporary.Nowhere do they discuss whether such optimism iswarranted, nor do they address its implications, whichif adequately considered would make a mockery oftheir ideological premises; which is that demand forjobs will generate a supply of jobs. They merelyrecommend that the government “undertakes aninvestigation into whether labour market barriers toemployment need to be addressed as part of a strategyto reduce benefit dependency”. This attests to itsdisgraceful failure to make that very investigationnecessary to formulate meaningful recommendations,and thus implicitly testifies to its ideological blindness.The real significance of this gross omission is as follows:By pretending that no economic crisis has occurred itbecomes unnecessary to blame the government’sbosom-friends, the finance capitalists, for thewidespread misery they have caused, and equallyunnecessary to correctly identify the crisis as the realcause of the high levels of welfare dependency that theWWG so self-righteously deplores- and condemns.Instead, the wrath of the working class at beingsubjected to wage & employment cuts is diverted to

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